Category Archives: Tarot

Tarot Draw #3

So, my big news this week is that I lost my job last Tuesday. As will surprise nobody, I am more than a little freaked out by this development, for any number of reasons. The fact that my health insurance is scheduled to lapse on November 30th (that’s tomorrow, for those of you keeping score at home) is among those reasons, but certainly not the only one.

It’s no surprise, then, that this has been on my mind for the past few days. After I tried to approach the topic through last week’s failed draw, I decided to try a different approach with my next question.

Question: What gift should I take away from my recent job loss?

Card: The Fool

No shit.
No shit.

First impressions: My whining about ending up with a major on the previous draw was, unsurprisingly, nowhere to be found. I actually laughed out loud when I turned this card over. I love the card – not only that, but I love the idea of The Fool.

About the card: This is one of those cards where it will be difficult to focus exclusively on the image itself, but I’ll at least start there. So, we have a guy dressed in colorful, festive garb with a bindle his right shoulder, and a white flower in his left hand. He’s looking up into a completely clear sky, the sun shining down on him…and he’s about one step from stepping right off a damn cliff. In the background we see a steep, sharp range of snow-covered mountains, and at his feet there’s a cute white dog. Said dog is up on its hind legs, apparently excited about something.

The story without words: There’s lots of narrative juice for me in this card – or lots of questions, actually, which is even better. Here are some of the questions that jump out at me immediately…

Where did the flower come from? The Fool travels light. I mean, here’s this guy walking along with what I have to imagine are all of his worldly possessions. Not only do they fit in two hands…they actually fit in one hand, which left the other hand free to either pick the flower or receive it as a gift from someone. Looking at the card today, I find myself wondering which it is – whether he saw it and picked it himself, or if it was given to him. I don’t think the answer particularly matters, to be honest. What stands out here for me is that he had a hand free for it, and it was important enough to bring along. He carries so little with him, I have to imagine that each item he has is important to him.

What’s going through his mind right now? Is he lost in thought? Does he know he’s close to the edge of the cliff? If so, why is he looking up instead of looking ahead? Perhaps he’s just basking in the sun and is otherwise unaware of where he is, but…I don’t know. Somehow I tend to believe that he knows exactly where he is, and is willfully ignoring what will happen when he takes that next step. I think that’s the only way he can enter a new life, or start a new adventure. Otherwise, he’ll just see the same things over and over again. Maybe the only way to really experience what comes next is to not really see I coming.

What about that damn dog? Man, I’ve never known about that dog. When I’ve looked at the card in the past, the lasting impression I’ve had is that it’s close enough to nip at The Fool’s ankle and send him over the cliff if he hesitates. Studying the card today, I don’t think that’s actually true. I’m still wondering, though…when The Fool takes that next step, does the little dog jump after, or shake his head in pity?

But what does it mean?: I’m biased as hell on this one, but today I can’t see anything bad or scary in the card, despite the fact that the idea of being without a job for any length of time scares the bejeezus out of me. I’m aware that I’ve spent a whole lot of time with my career taking up both hands, as it were. My most recent job included a commute that had me on the road anywhere between 2 and 3 hours a day, and also featured exciting things like the occasional 12 hour day in the office and at least half a day of work each weekend. I don’t mind working hard – I really like it, in fact – but I really haven’t had a free hand for the Fool’s white flower in a long time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m about 95% as worried about the prospect of being jobless for months today as I was when I got the bad news a week ago. Drawing a card I see as hopeful doesn’t change that – or at least, it doesn’t change it for me. What it does do, though, is remind me that I have some choice in how I choose to view the situation. I have some prospects that will keep the mortgage paid and keep me fed for a few months, at least, and while it won’t be exciting work, shelter and food are a pretty good start for the moment.

The card in music: As most everyone who knows me is aware, my favorite musician is a guy named Stuart Davis, who I’ve followed for close to 15 years. He’s a brilliant songwriter, and a few years back he released a song that immediately made me think of The Fool. It’s called Already Free. Some of the lyrics that stand out for me when I think of the card include the following:

But I needed a push to get me to see
Wherever I am, I’m already free

And if that’s not enough, the one that feels like a sledgehammer tapping me lightly on the back of the head:

I dug a tunnel when I needed a lift
Such a fool just afraid of a gift
Something subtle when it started to shift
now I’m soaring over cliffs

To be clear, I have no idea if The Fool factors into the song at all for Stu. I could probably ask (he’s the sort of musician who might well get around to responding to a question like that) but I’m not sure if I really want to know. For me, it’s enough to say that if I ever make a Tarot mix (not likely, but it’s an idea I’ve kicked around a couple of times), this song will be the first track. Give it a listen, if you’re so inclined: Already Free.

Tarot Fail

I attempted another draw this morning, thinking that I could let the card percolate for a while during the drive home to Chicago and maybe even get it posted from the car (while someone else drives, I promise). Somehow, though, it just isn’t happening today. In unsurprising news, my mind is really full of job-related worries at the moment (or, rather, lack-of-job-related worries), so I drew a card with a question related to that.

Almost immediately, I found myself wanting to draw a different card instead. Not because the card I drew felt terrible or anything, but because it didn’t immediately fit the story I had in my head…or at least the story I WANTED to believe was true at the moment. I tried sitting with the card for a little while, but still couldn’t see past the block of the apparent image versus the desired story.

So, screw it (for today, anyway). I’ll give it another day or so and see if another draw allows me to see something different. In the meantime, I’m almost halfway home from my Thanksgiving trip and am really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed in a few hours.

Tarot Draw #2

I’ve been a staff member at Diana’s Grove Mystery School for the past two years (and a member of that community since 2006), and recently I made the decision that it was time to step away from that role. Lots of reasons why that’s true, none of which are immediately germane here. But earlier this week, I had the final ‘official’ meeting with an amazing group that I’ve been mentoring in leadership, community and ritual arts, and facilitation skills. That work has been a highlight not only of my time in Mystery School, but a highlight of my life during the time that I’ve been doing it. Fresh off the bittersweet experience of saying goodbye, I did my second tarot draw.

 

Question: What should I consider as I exit my role in my current spiritual community?

 

thestar

 

First impressions: “Damn it, a Major.” Clearly I shouldn’t have expressed my gratitude for having drawn a non-major, non-court card the first time. On the other hand, this is a card I don’t know much at all about, so of the majors it’s not a bad one to end up with.

About the card: Okay, so let’s look at this thing. I see a nude woman with blonde hair. She’s down on her left knee, with her right foot resting on the surface of a lake. She’s also pouring water out of two jugs – one into the lake, and the other onto the ground nearby. The water being poured onto the ground is going in a few directions, including a small trickle that’s feeding into the lake.

In the background, there’s one tree with a bird in its uppermost branches, and a mountain range way off in the distance. In the sky, there are eight 8-pointed stars – seven smaller ones and one big damn star in the middle. My brain wants to make the large one the Sun, but given that this card is The Star, I’m going to resist that impulse on the assumption that it’s stupid.

Some other things I notice, here: First off, the woman is huge. It could just be perspective, but I don’t think so – she looks like a giant. Clearly not just a random woman traipsing through the countryside with a couple of water jugs. Second, the water being poured out onto the ground isn’t going the right direction. I mean, part of it is trickling into the lake, but more of it is moving in other directions – including uphill. Finally, there’s the fact that the woman’s foot is resting on top of the lake – not in the lake, on top of it. That seems kind of important.

The story without words: With only one person in the image, it’s harder for me to see a narrative in the card. I’m struck by the fact that the woman is doing something that seems ridiculous, though, in watering the lake. I mean, most people don’t go to the lake and add water to it, right? It’s usually the other way around. One thing I “know” about the Tarot is that an unclothed form symbolizes vulnerability. I tend to translate that as “purity,” instead. Maybe this figure is watering the lake and the ground because at her heart, that’s what she does – she brings emotional connection with her wherever she goes. Whether it’s “needed” by the lake or not is immaterial to the fact that this is who she is and what she does.

But what does it mean?: Through this lens, I’m aware that I’ve compartmentalized my life in some ways that I’m not thrilled with (that’s part of the larger purpose of this new site, to bring more of those compartmentalized parts of my life together, but that’s a topic for a later post). I tend to see myself as a leader, a mentor, a ritual artist, a partner, a writer…all of these things, but any one of them only in certain limited contexts. I find that I often wouldn’t really think of bringing my gifts to a place where they seem like they either don’t fit or are already present. Perhaps like the woman in this card, I would do well to have fewer barriers between myself and the world that surrounds me. Maybe the point of offering my self isn’t to find the perfect venue where that self is most needed or will be most appreciated, but simply to offer those gifts wherever I go.

This all feels like a very tenuous connection to the card itself. I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to this one again to see what else comes up for me.

 

Water is needed in the desert, but it is also needed in the whole world.

Tarot Draw #1

After a long day at work yesterday followed by a lovely dinner with a friend, I went home to unwrap my new deck. I’ll admit to a little trepidation as I pulled out the cards. While I’ve done a few exercises with tarot cards in the past, I’ve never really felt like I had any particular insight into the per se. The specter of, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” crops up for me fairly often, even when it has no particular reason to make an appearance. That voice was quietly present last night.

I mixed up the cards by the simple expedient of dumping them on my bed and shuffling them about for several minutes. I’ve talked to folks who say that they are often (or at least occasionally) drawn to a particular card when shuffling, but that didn’t happen for me this time. I was about to pull a card when I remembered that it might be useful to, you know, have a question to focus on for the draw.

Hey, I’m new at this. 🙂

After a bit of reflection, I decided that the most honest question on my mind at that moment was something like, “What do I need to know about this writing project I’m starting?” Not the most life-altering question, but it felt right in the moment. Some more shuffling, and then…

3 of Pentacles
3 of Pentacles


First impressions:
Thank goodness the first draw wasn’t one of the Majors. What little I “know” about the Tarot is really focused on those cards, and I suspect I will find it more difficult to set aside those preconceptions and focus exclusively on the card for those than I will for non-majors. Non-court cards will be the easiest, I imagine, so I was grateful to have pulled one of those to start with.

About the card: So what I’m seeing here is three people in what appears to be a church, cathedral or monestary of some sort. One of them is standing on a bench and wearing what looks to me like a workman’s apron, and I imagine if he were facing the other way I would see a few tools arranged there. Standing nearby are two other folks. one of them is clearly either a monk or someone blessed with a love of brown robes and the kind of hair style that I will have in a few short years. The other is rocking a fabulous orange robe. The gender of this third character is unknown, but I noticed that my mind filled in “female” immediately for some reason. Given the setting, I want to say that it’s a nun from an order with a great sense of humor, fashion-wise.

The Orange Nun is holding what scans to me like a set of plans for the cathedral/church/whatever. I really like the level of detail in the image, here – there’s just enough to make it pretty clear that that’s what it is, with just a few lines on the parchment she’s holding.

The story without words: My gut read here is that the guy on the bench is talking over his work with the other two. I imagine that he’s pretty busy, given that he’s still working while they talk about it. What’s interesting to me is that my initial feeling is one of empathy for the worker, as if there’s something going on here…not an argument, necessarily, but a discussion about whether or not he’s manifesting the plans as expected.

But what does it mean?: Looking at it through the lens of my question, I’m struck by my assumption that there must be some conflict going on here between the “vision” and the “implementation”, between the planners and the artisan. There’s nothing in the image to directly suggest that (nothing I’m seeing consciously, anyway) but I went there awfully quickly. If all of the characters in the card are me (my double Leo self LOVES that idea, by the way), then there’s a pretty clear parallel with my discomfort around actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) when I’m not sure if I’ll be able to bring what I have in mind into the world as I had originally hoped. I’m really wondering what I’d see if I had drawn this card with a different question in mind. Would I have seen three people collaborating over a shared vision instead of the tension between vision and action? Interesting stuff.

So, there we have it. First card drawn, first rambling post complete. Success!